Great news from the government! They finally did something about a terrible problem we mentioned last month.
In response to growing concerns about real estate fraud, the provincial government has passed Bill 152, the Consumer Protection and Service Modernization Act, which provides various new safeguards for property owners.
Under Bill 152, the Land Titles Act is amended to ensure that ownership of a property cannot be lost as a result of the registration of a falsified mortgage, fraudulent sale, or a counterfeit power of attorney. The proposed legislation will also:
- Implement a streamlined and expedited Land Titles Assurance Fund process for individuals who are victims of fraud so that title is returned and a decision on compensation is made within 90 days. More information about the Land Titles Assurance Fund is available here. Information on how to make a claim to the Land Titles Assurance Fund is available here.
- Introduce new safeguards for suspending and revoking the accounts of fraudsters so that they cannot register documents, and
- Raise existing fines for real estate fraud related offences from $1000 to $50,000.
What is real estate fraud?
Real estate fraud has recently received attention from the real estate, legal, and financial communities due to its increasing prevalence. Real estate fraud can take various forms, but one of the most serious is title theft, whereby title to a property is transferred fraudulently without the true property owner’s knowledge. The home can then be sold without the true property owner’s knowledge or a mortgage can be placed on the property, which could become the responsibility of the unsuspecting rightful property owner.